CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
CHICAGO – How do you explain air? That is what our thoughts are, after all – carbon-based cells interacting with circumstantial environment, sending the “message.” What if those cells send the thought receiver something outside “normal”? This is the exploration in the new film ‘Touched With Fire.’
CHICAGO – The status of individual mental acuity and control is like the fingerprint of the brain. There are disorders that have been diagnosed, which alters that fingerprint into different types of behavior. A new film, “Touched with Fire” – directed by Paul Dalio and featuring lead actor Luke Kirby – seeks to bridge an understanding of Bipolar Condition, the particular mental journey of highest (and ultra-creative) highs and mind numbing lows.
CHICAGO – The horrors of the Holocaust have been expressed in cinematic art through many angles. “Woman in Gold” takes another track, that of restoring a work of art that was stolen from a Jewish family in Austria. The legal maneuverings, however, lacks a sense that this is victorious.
CHICAGO – The painting “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” was created by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, and was considered Austria’s greatest artwork. The remarkable journey of the painting, stolen from its original Jewish family by the Nazis during World War II, is the basis for the new film, “Woman in Gold,” directed by Simon Curtis.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new drama “Woman in Gold” starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds!
CHICAGO – “The Giver” must have seemed a lot newer back when it was written than it does now. The Newberry Medal winning, middle school staple predates many other Young Adult series about oppressive big brother-ish societies.
CHICAGO – Ang Lee won his second Oscar this year for his work on “Life of Pi” but he wasn’t even nominated for one of the best films of his career, the masterful “The Ice Storm,” recently upgraded to Blu-ray by Criterion and re-released on DVD. Few films from 1997 have held up more completely as Lee’s adaptation of the Rick Moody novel feels even more symbolically dense and accomplished. It’s a stellar drama, one of the best of the ’90s, and Criterion has loaded it down with special features.
CHICAGO – Adam Sandler has become such a lazy filmmaker that he’s now just building films around his personal vacation schedule. He wanted to take an outdoors-y vacation with his friends and the result was “Grown Ups.” He wanted to go to Hawaii and the result was “Just Go With It.” He wanted to take a cruise and we have to sit through “Jack and Jill.”
CHICAGO – Just as Peter Jackson’s adaptation of “The Lovely Bones” suffered from visual over-saturation, writer/producer Guillermo del Toro’s remake of John Newland’s 1973 TV movie succumbs to ineffectual excess. As soon as its fearsome creatures appear for longer than a flash frame, they instantly lose their scare-factor. Didn’t del Toro and his crew learn anything from “Signs”?
CHICAGO – No one will ever accuse Adam Sandler of not knowing his audience and the reason they keep coming back to his “Happy Madison” genre of films – he delivers the oddball characters, lots of bodily fluids/sounds, physical beatings and the know-it-all straight man. Add the gooey sentiment and out spews the latest, “Jack and Jill.”